Happiness, Goodness and Justice - 2016

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes and may not be suitable for some students.
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Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Assignment - Critical Discussion (40%) , Participation (15%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

This unit was previously known as PHI110 Philosophy, Morality and Society.

This unit provides an introduction to major topics in ethics, moral theory and contemporary political philosophy. The first section, Happiness & the Good Life, focuses on the nature of happiness. Is pleasure essential to happiness? Or does the pursuit of pleasure harm our chances of lasting fulfilment? Must we be virtuous in order to be happy? What is the relationship between happiness and duty? The second section, Goodness & the Foundations of Morality, explores the sources of our evaluation of being 'good' or 'evil' and the objectivity of such moral judgments. Is morality based ultimately in self-interest? What is the relationship between morality and religion? Are there moral principles that everyone is bound by reason to recognise? Or is the validity of moral standards relative to specific societies and cultures? In the third section, Contemporary Problems of Justice, we turn to questions of applied political philosophy, focusing on questions such as: What principles should govern the distribution of economic and social resources within a society? What are the obligations of wealthy nations to those less fortunate, including immigrants and refugees? And what issues of justice are raised by climate change?

At the completion on this unit, you will have learn to:

  1. understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  2. understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  3. understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  4. evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  5. be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  6. be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  7. be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  8. experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them.
  • Assignment — Critical Discussion (40%)
  • Participation (15%)
  • Quizzes (15%)
  • Reflective Task — Reflections (30%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • PHI110 — Philosophy, Morality and Society
  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1So, what is moral philosophy? (What made Darth Vader become a good guy?)
2Part 1: Happiness: "The good life is the life of pleasure" - Epicurean ethics
3Part 1: Happiness: Living according to nature - Stoic ethics
4Part 1: Happiness: Happiness and character - Aristotelian ethics
5Part 2: Goodness: "If there is no God, is everything permitted?" - morality and religion
6Part 2: Goodness: Egoism and self-interest - Plato and The Hunger Games
7Part 2: Goodness: The challenge of multiculturalism - diversity, respect and moral relativism
8Part 2: Goodness: The greatest good for the greatest number - Utilitarianism
9Part 2: Goodness: The moral law is universal! - Kant's challenge
10Part 3: Justice: Justice and inequality - is global poverty justifiable?
11Part 3: Justice: Immigration and refugees - can we keep them out?
12Part 3: Justice: Climate change and justice - who should pay to fix it?
13Part 3: Justice: Looking ahead - where are you going now?

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Printable format materials
  • Quizzes
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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